Washington, D.C. — Today, Senator Ted Budd (R-NC) delivered his maiden speech on the Senate floor. The maiden speech is historically a U.S. Senator’s first major address after taking office.
The focus of Senator Budd’s maiden speech was how the United States can remain a strong nation both at home and abroad:
“My number one goal during my time in the U.S. Senate is to create a strong nation full of strong families. To be of service to others. To make other people’s lives better… To do just what I said I would do.”
Full Transcript of Senator Budd’s Maiden Speech:
Mister President, it is my honor to rise today to speak on behalf of the citizens of the great state of North Carolina.
I would not be here today without some very special people. The love of my life, Amy Kate. Our three kids, Joshua, Kathryn, and Macy. And my wonderful parents, Richard and Sylvia Budd.
I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am today without all of your love, your support, and your strength.
I also want to thank the dedicated members of my team – both my official staff and campaign staff – who helped me on this journey.
As this voyage unfolded, I was always grateful for my fellow Senators, whose presence was a constant source of encouragement and advice.
I want to thank Senator Richard Burr and Senator Thom Tillis for their service to this institution and our state.
I was also inspired by the Senators who are no longer with us – whose lasting imprints are signatures in these desks.
As I open this desk and I see the signature of the late, great Senator Jesse Helms. He was one of our state’s most legendary leaders. I can only hope to be as fine a Senator for North Carolina as he was.
I also look to Senator James Broyhill, who we lost just this year. He was a great friend to our family for decades. His commitment to public service is one that I will try to emulate for as long as I hold this office.
As someone who was born and raised in North Carolina, I want you to know that it’s a part of me. It’s in my bones. But you really don’t know your state until you’ve visited every corner of it.
Our state has 100 counties, and during our campaign I visited each and every one of those counties – some of them multiple times. Not just the ones with the high populations, or the ones with the big TV markets.
And that 100 county tour helped me fall deeper in love with my home state, and I’m going to be a better Senator for having done it.
But of all of North Carolina’s counties, one is near and dear to my heart, and that’s Davie County.
I was told a while back that I was the first U.S. Senator to come from Davie County. I owe a lot to the place that I call home.
It’s the values of small North Carolina counties like mine that are my values too.
And those aren’t just another set of policy issues. North Carolina values are about how somebody goes about their daily life.
It’s about faith. It’s about loyalty to our family and your friends. It’s about being a man of your word. It’s about being honest. It’s about being reliable. It’s about working hard. And it’s about serving others.
Our state’s motto is Esse Quam Videri, or in English: “To be, rather than to seem.” To put it another way, we tend to walk the walk more than talk the talk.
That is the sort of spirit I will endeavor to carry with me during my time in office.
You know, in my relatively short time in the Senate, I’ve been to 11 countries. I’ve met with ambassadors and foreign leaders, and been able to visit and thank American troops stationed overseas.
One of the big lessons I learned is this: For as much importance as we place on our international standing – and believe me, we should – what’s most important is that we do not lose our way at home.
We need to be an America that’s worth defending. Everything we do here should be about creating a strong nation.
But, we should not seek strength without purpose. And our purpose is clearly laid out in our founding documents, and it’s been taught the hard way through nearly 250 years of lived history, witnessing what works and what doesn’t.
Winston Churchill once famously observed that “Americans will always do the right thing, only after they have tried everything else.”
And in the last few years, it seems like we’ve tried everything else – a lot of bad ideas, and there are some big things that are not working.
We live in a culture that unfortunately accentuates all the ways each one of us are different, instead of all the things we have in common, and it’s these differences that are used by some to drive us apart. Drawing lines based on race, gender, or bank accounts.
In recent years, far too many members of America’s next generation are being indoctrinated with a sense of victimhood and despair instead of being encouraged with vision and hope.
That indoctrination has real world consequences, and we’ve seen it borne out in disturbing national trends.
Less than 40% of our country says they’re extremely proud to be an American. The rate of churchgoing and a belief in God now sits at historic lows.
One in 10 Americans suffer from depression. And depression among young adults is particularly acute. One CDC study revealed that “42 percent of high school students felt so sad or hopeless for the past 2 weeks that they could not go about their [daily business].”
Among young adults, substance abuse is at an all time high. Rates of suicide have increased. More than one in five high school students has seriously considered attempting suicide.
These numbers should shock our national conscience and serve as a wake up call for change.
In spite of these discouraging statistics, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel to know how to get back on the right track.
Instead of teaching the next generation of Americans to wallow in all the things that their country has done wrong, we need to be celebrating, we need to be learning, and building on all the things we’ve done right.
Simply put, we need to teach our kids to love our country, and not to hate it. To have a spirit of gratitude not a spirit of disdain.
Great nations succeed when their citizens not only have a focus on what makes them great, but also when we collectively keep our eyes on what creates prosperity and human flourishing.
But when we give our government too much power, the less freedom each individual has over their own life. Less freedom means you have less money and less opportunity to achieve your God-given destiny.
When the government stops us from responsibly producing energy, for instance, and then attempts to dictate our consumption habits, it makes life harder and more difficult for hardworking citizens and it stifles our nation’s strength.
The Apostle Paul, when he wrote to young Timothy, he warned him to watch out for the love of money, for it is the root of all sorts of evil.
But, in this town, the root of all sorts of evil seems to be Modern Monetary Theory. The supposition that the national debt doesn’t matter and government spending should be the driving force behind the economy instead of individuals and private businesses.
But the problem with this is that a bigger government, with endless spending, creates economic stagnation.
It convinces people to accept financial mediocrity instead of incentivizing innovative and creative members of society to take risks, to fail, and get back up and try again for a better tomorrow.
We need to be creating an economy that rewards risk-taking and allows people to keep working towards their American Dream.
But it is government that too often stands in the way of that dream. It was the trillions of pandemic spending that caused the inflation that now eats away at the buying power of each and every consumer.
It was the limitless spending of the past quarter century that has created a federal budget so out of whack that the basic goal of balancing our country’s checkbook, well, it is politically toxic to consider.
Looking to government as our economic savior is simply not the solution. Capitalism, open markets; a free and a moral people – that is the formula for success.
Success that our country saw not too long ago. And we can surely recreate it, if we have the right leadership that lightens the regulatory burden on America’s job creators.
And the stronger that we are here at home, the more leadership we can exert on the world stage. That’s what’s missing today – a strong and a confident America.
The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August of 2021 was nothing short of a national tragedy and disgrace. Not only did it result in the devastating loss of 13 servicemembers and the abandonment of countless citizens, but it put American weakness on full display.
We were seen by our enemies as hapless, short-sighted, and not willing to change course when the facts on the ground called for a change.
In speaking with allies and international leaders, I heard over and over again that it was the Afghanistan debacle that caused our allies to wonder if they even can count on us anymore.
They wonder if when the going gets tough, we’ll be more likely to cut and run than stand by their side (as they stood with us). And that undercuts America’s standing in the world.
As we see the results of this weakness across the globe – A Russian dictator blatantly invading his neighbor, unleashing unspeakable chaos and suffering on innocent civilians.
China, led by a brutal communist government, is growing more aggressive towards not only Taiwan, but blatantly launching spy crafts over the U.S. mainland, buying up critical infrastructure inside the United States, and stealing the intellectual property of U.S. citizens.
Iran and North Korea are spinning up their centrifuges, cracking down on their own people, and making threats to the security of their respective regions.
At our own southern border right now, we have a historic humanitarian and national security crisis. But instead of pursuing what used to be a non-partisan imperative to secure the border, the current administration is retreating from their responsibility to protect and defend this country.
All of this chaos is the result of America being a diminished country, all too willing to cede the stage and to let others lead.
That is not the way that our world will find peace and security. Peace is achieved through American strength. It is American weakness, instead, that provokes evil.
Our country must return to the principles of clarity and purpose, a willingness to act when the situation calls for it, and the strength to follow through when we face obstacles.
As a country, we can have anything we want, as long as we act with wisdom and conviction. And ladies and gentlemen, we know what works. We’ve done it before, and you bet we can do it again.
Despite all of the things that are broken right now, none of them can overshadow that uniquely American ability to overcome a challenge.
Each and every day I am filled with a tremendous sense of gratitude that I live in the United States of America. And I believe that millions of people out there, they feel the same way.
In the final analysis, it is our shores that welcome one million legal immigrants every year. It is our country that is viewed by millions as a place where they can shed an old life and start again.
People vote with their feet, and the United States of America is still the last, best beacon of hope on this planet. All we have to do is keep it that way.
At the end of the day, we must seek to be a nation that empowers every citizen, ensures human flourishing, and preserves freedom for every individual to pursue their American dream.
I’ll leave you all with this: My number one goal during my time in the U.S. Senate is to create a strong nation full of strong families. To be of service to others. To make other people’s lives better… To do just what I said I would do.
That’s how I’ve lived throughout my life. And that’s the kind of Senator I want to be.
Thank you, Mister President. I yield the floor.